Why the Publishing Industry Fears You (John Hodgman) and a Question ONLY YOU Can Answer

Good Evening Sir,

Let me first say I’m honored you took the time to ignore this missive. You and I both know you will not, nor will you ever, read this. At the most, perhaps your manservant will briefly glance at it before deleting this message and delivering you a carafe of ether. As a Very Famous Minor Celebrity and Deranged Millionaire, your schedule must be maddeningly packed, what with your impressive collection of Third World dictators’ toenail clippings to keep up, county fair pie-eating contests to judge and traipsing about the globe with your pet miniature narwhal, Eleanor Roosevelt, in a hot air balloon made from spider-goat silk. So confident am I that these words and your eyes will never meet, I’ve attached a piece of vintage erotica, something of a minor diversion/obsession of mine, to the bottom of this post. It only saddens me that you will not get the chance to share my enthusiasm for 19th century boudoir portraiture and bare ankles.

"Hey guy, my eyes are up here."

Frankly, I’d be disappointed if you were reading this. Surely you have far loftier wastes of time to attend. If you are reading this, stop immediately and go shoot a giraffe with a grenade launcher or engage in some other type of exotic activity available only to the super rich and super unbalanced. Might I suggest hunting “the most dangerous game”? By which I mean Gary Busey.

And Busey doesn't come cheap. He gets paid by the tooth.

To the matter at hand. I wrote a book which recently made the rounds at all the prominent publishing houses. The book, Conquer Everything: Simple Ways to Become Better Than and/or Destroy Everyone Else, offers a literary satire on the self-improvement genre that’s presently so rampantly rampant in modern culture. More than that, though, the book spins and careens into an absurd universe never before seen and best not visited often unless one values excitement over safety (and these days the thing humans value most is Bloomin’ Onions via the Steakhouse of the Outback).

The perfect remedy for what Jean-Paul Sartre called, "L'enfer, c'est les autres," or "the empty hole inside us all that cries out to be filled with deep fried vegetables with dippin' sauce."

The book received great responses, which is to say it received a lot of enthusiastic rejections. Not one publishing house editor disliked book. In fact many liked it quite a bit. The editor at Random House, for example, called the book “funny and sharp.” Another prominent editor found the book packed with “fiery wit” and “unfettered imagination.” Alas, not one of these publishing professionals felt confident about the book’s chances in the real world. And when asked what they found troubling, they repeatedly uttered your name.

To explain, in citing comparative works, my agent compared my book to your Expertise trilogy (my apologies) because:

  • The book is possessed of an acerbic literary satire that seamlessly weaves authoritative erudition with the occasional reference to Christopher Walken farting on an endangered Northern Spotted Barn Owl (no, I can’t photoshop that).
  • The book is full of dangerous made-up facts and self-destructive advice.
  • Clearly the contents of the book derive from a troubled and whimsically disturbed mind.

And the publishers agreed. They felt your books and my inchoate work share a certain sensibility. Your name sent up red flags and scared these professional men and women. But why? Why would your success send these editors into fits? In short, not one of them can explain the success of your books, a fact which frightens them. While all admirers of your books, they simply find themselves at a loss to understand the wild sensation that is your work. It’s an odd notion. They embrace your work, but find themselves hard-pressed to deduce why anyone else would want to buy it, despite the fact diligent scientific research shows people did.

It doesn't get much more science-y than this. These MFer's are stinking up the joint with musky science.

So this is the point at which I ask you (and as you are not reading this, I suppose I’m just asking myself) how did you convince them? Yes, I am calling upon the collective strength of all your amassed expertise that you might tell me how you allayed their fears and gained their trust. To be clear, I ask for no favors, not even an autographed furry lobster. I only seek the answer to a question you, and quite literally you alone, can answer.

john hodgman

You, supposedly.

As I have already taken up much of your time with a rather long blog post you’re actively ignoring, I shall make it even longer by including examples of the book in the event it might help you in deducing an answer. That is, the answer to the question you most certainly were not asked in a post you quite definitely and understandably paid no attention to. I have provided a link instead of an attachment as we must all stay vigilant against the multitude of e-viruses from the computerverse. https://funwithcole.wordpress.com/conquer-everything/

Pictured: The "Computerverse"

It’s true; I could move on and write another book. Maybe even get that book published one day. Someday I might even make a career as an author of “tomes,” “works,” and “Civil War-era romance novels featuring the Confederacy represented by werewolves and a Union made up entirely of vampires.” However, this book is the one I wanted to be the first. For better or for worse. Widely lauded or universally loathed.

I await your silence with great anticipation.

Godspeed to you on your rapidly accelerating journey into madness,

Cole Gamble

P.S. I’d also like to apologize on behalf of the universe for the tardiness of the apocalypse. Like you, I watched the 2012 New Year’s Rockin’ Eve telecast fully expecting at the stroke of midnight Dick Clark would break forth from his human form to reveal himself Quetzalcoatl, ender of all things. (I know you’ve placed your money on Nick Nolte as Quetzalcoatl, but I’ve always seen him as more Cthulhu-esque. On this point we must simply agree to disagree)

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